If students needed more evidence that GW is full of aspiring congressmen, they got it earlier this month when Kaplan and Newsweek named the University the “hottest for political junkies.”
The University, which heavily advertises its hosting of CNN’s “Crossfire” and proximity to the nation’s power corridor, is being featured in the 2005 “How to Get into College Guide,” a joint venture between Kaplan and Newsweek.
GW is among 25 schools listed under headlines such as “hottest library” and “hottest university for Greeks with brains.” The University was given its title after Kaplan and Newsweek interviewed scores of educators, admissions officers and students. The magazines picked GW as a hot school in 2003, but did not give it a specific distinction.
“The University encouraging students to get involved, professors working for consulting agencies and (non-government organizations) – all this brings the students close to real world politics,” said Jennifer Karan, Kaplan’s director of SAT programs, who worked on the guide.
Kaplan looked at several universities for its “hottest for political junkies” moniker; GW came out on top after a review of its programs for political students and its hosting of “Crossfire.” About 20 percent of GW students major in international affairs, politics or political communications.
Laila Hasan, president of the GW College Democrats, a 300-member group, said it was not a surprise that the University was singled out for its political programs.
“GW offers its students the unique position of being in Washington, which gives them the edge in jobs, internships, and general political exposure and opportunities to get involved,” Hasan said.
She added, “The GW College Democrats and College Republicans are two of the largest student organizations on campus and highly respected among their respective national organizations.”
Heather Date, coordinating producer of “Crossfire,” which is broadcast live on weekdays from the School of Media and Public Affairs building, said the warm reception the show has received on campus is a testament to GW’s politically active students. CNN first started regularly taping the show in the Jack Morton Auditorium in April 2002.
“I have been extremely pleased with the level of support from both the College Republicans and College Democrats,” she said. “We are also thrilled to welcome students who may not yet have a political point of view, but who may take advantage of Crossfire to help decide which side of the political aisle they come down on.”
Sam Feist, senior executive producer of CNN’s political programming, added, “A debate program like ‘Crossfire’ is the perfect CNN show to originate from in front of a live audience, and GW is just the kind of university that makes for a good host.”
Michael Freedman, GW vice president of Communications, said GW students are more politically active than students at other schools. The University does more than most colleges to give its students an opportunity to be involved in the political process, he added.
“Students who are politically active at GW are gaining unique experiences as a result of the GW-CNN partnership, the University’s location and the wealth of talent among GW’s faculty,” he said.
Many GW students said GW’s new accolade is warranted.
“I definitely think that rank is deserved,” junior Renee Angevine said. “A lot of people that come to this school are here for politics, even if it’s not their major.”
Ashley Marmaro, a senior majoring in economics, said that while GW has an overwhelming political connection, she feels it does not detract from the University’s other programs, such as business.
“We’re just stronger there,” said Marmaro of politics, but “GW definitely tries to put a lot of money into other departments.”
-Michael Barnett contributed to this report.